Thursday, 18. September 2014
19. 06. 14. - 14:00
A high-profile competition offered by McDonald's in Germany was turned into a PR disaster after a man who won a trip into outer space said he wasn't interested in the prize – and swapped it for a Mercedes.
Car dealer Heike Düsterhoeft, 50, ended up with the prize and was photographed in a spaceman suit making the preparations for the flight later this year – only to find herself dragged into court after the original ticket holder claimed he had not been paid enough.
Bilal Mazbouh, 44, who won the McDonald's first prize was given a Mercedes ML 500 by his car dealer business partner, but claims he had also been promised a five series BMW, a Seat Leon and a set of expensive alloy wheels, and he wants the extra payment that he alleges he is owed - or 80,000 Euros – and if not then he wants the tickets back.
He said: "I never really wanted to sell it, she just took the winning ticket away from me and said she wanted to check that it was real."
But Heike says that the demands by her former business partner in the car dealership only surfaced after the media had started reporting about the fact she was to become the first German tourist into space.
She said: "What he is saying is such a load of rubbish, we had a fixed deal right from the start, and I even have an SMS to prove it. It says: "Would you rather fly into space?"
He admits sending the SMS but says it was just a joke.
Now the two are set to appear at a court in Magdeburg even though the judge has already made it clear that he doesn't see any evidence in favour of one or the other, and as a result the status quo is unlikely to change. That means that Bilal will keep the car, and the woman her tickets.
Judge Joern Draack, 40, said: "I imagine the end result of this court case will be just like the Brazil Mexico game, 0-0."
The decision is now expected to be made on August 6.
Heike, who has already done the basic astronaut training at a camp in Holland, said that she's really excited about making the trip and doesn't expect the court case to change anything. She gets to sit alongside in the shuttle as a co-pilot and will fly into space for about 100 kilometres before coming back to earth.
But because of the court case the original flight plan for autumn 2014 has now been put off, and it's expected that she won't fly (assuming the court agrees that she keeps the tickets) before 2015.
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